Ryanair announced plans to increase its presence at Manchester Airport, with the launch services to Alicante, Faro, Madrid and Tenerife from 14-Apr-2011 and increasing frequencies on its Dublin route from four to six times daily (BBC, 26-Jan-2011). The airline will also launch Humberside-Alicante services from 12-Apr-2011, its first from the airport, which is also owned by Manchester Airports Group. Ryanair will compete with easyJet, Jet2.com and Monarch on Manchester services to Alicante, Faro and Tenerife, but is the only airline operating to Madrid. The news marks a turnaround at Ryanair, which has avoided expansion at Manchester due to airport charges. CEO Michael O’Leary stated the new management team “recognised the airport has lost out to rivals in the past”, adding that “if all goes well we could connect Manchester to our other bases in Spain and the western Mediterranean in the future”.
Ryanair returns to Manchester
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Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.
Ryanair and Stansted. Brexit may have increased the LCC's bargaining power over its biggest airport
Ryanair's plans for nine new routes and increased frequency on 13 routes at London Stansted Airport in summer 2017 mark a further chapter in the relationship between the two. Stansted is Ryanair's biggest airport and Ryanair is Stansted's biggest airline customer. However, Ryanair dominates Stansted, while Stansted's importance to Ryanair is diminishing.
When Ryanair took exception to what it considered to be excessive airport charge increases it severely cut its capacity at Stansted, severely denting the airport's traffic base between 2007 and 2012. The subsequent growth in passenger numbers following Stansted's acquisition by Manchester Airports Group in 2013 is the direct result of a deal with Ryanair over reduced airport charges. In 2016, Stansted's traffic recovery was complete and it handled more passengers than at its 2007 peak.
Ryanair's summer 2017 expansion plans at Stansted point to further growth in the airport's passenger numbers. However, Ryanair has reduced its growth in the UK as a result of Brexit uncertainty, and this is likely to mean slower growth for Stansted. Ryanair is even modestly cutting its capacity at the airport this winter. Ryanair has consistently been a critic of Brexit, but it may have further increased its bargaining power over its biggest airport.